May 8, 2014

The Parenting Social Movement: My Decision to Have One Child. ~ Katherine Jagger


My husband and I are in the final throes of deciding to have one child, and one child only.

By the fall my husband will likely have had a vasectomy; and then it’s done.

I never thought I would be here. In my childhood, my daydreams were not about princess dresses and a beautiful wedding, they were about the craziness of motherhood and raising children. Children, plural.

However, times have changed and with that comes a change in my beliefs as an adult living in this increasingly complicated world. I have spent months contemplating what life with one child could look like for my family’s future.  I’ve been reading research and visiting advocacy websites and parenting blogs dedicated to deciding family size and the “One and Done” movement.

These are my reasons to have one child.

The Environment.

The world we live in today is not equipped to handle a growing human population. Period. There’s plenty of research which supports this fact, but I won’t cite it here.

The next time you are in an airplane, take a look at the land below. At some point you will likely see a landscape that has been modified by humans, where trees have been removed to grow crops to support livestock for our dinner tables; and you will see how much damage we have done. We recycle. We try to limit our driving. We do a lot of things in the interest of saving the environment. But ultimately, the fewer people consuming our resources, the better for our world to recover and get back into its natural, balanced state. It’s not getting better now—it’s not getting better for our children.

Food Choice.

Feeding humans is costly. The majority of our American diet (a diet based on highly processed, genetically modified poisons disguised as food) is making us sick. Feeding my family the food doctors recommend to stay healthy is expensive. The decision to “eat clean” and buy food that is mostly from the source, organic and contains no-GMOs (which is hard to come by) comes with a high sticker price. In order to accommodate this life plan and not blow our lower middle class income out of the water, we will have to limit our family size. The better the food we are eating, the healthier my son will be as he grows into the future, and the longer my husband and I can live to nurture our child.

The Global Community.

Our world is a global community, and I want my son to experience this to prepare him for his adult life. As an enlisted military family we have been given the opportunity to see parts of the world that many families will never be able to experience. My son has lived in the US and Japan, and visited Okinawa, Korea, Vietnam and Hawaii (if you’ve been there you know why this worldly experience is worth noting.)

We want to be a family who can budget the money to continue to travel and expose our son to the world. All of these experiences and those to come will help him to see the diversity of his world in both the physical environment and human culture. Though we all live differently, we all have the same needs and different ways of meeting them. One day my son will be a working adult and need to function in a world where this understanding is paramount. Ignorance is not bliss.

Children as an Investment.

I have one child. My one child is highly competent socially and he has inherited a kind heart (from his father I’m assuming.) His curiosity for the world around him increases on a daily basis, even when he’s just being a kid, playing with his buddies at the playground. By choosing to have my son and only him, I am choosing to ‘put all of my eggs in one basket’ and nurture his gifts as an investment in our future global society. For the most part, he’s just an average American kid living in a military community—but he is our future.

My son will be whatever he wants to be, but when he decides on his calling I hope it will be in the spirit of helping others in the world. He will need to be globally-minded, and I believe that his education starts in the home. I want to be able to afford the time and resources (both financially and emotionally) it will take to prepare him for his future.

Our decision to have one child and one child only is a process.

I’ve been making a list of pros and cons, and at the moment the pros are winning. The grandparents will not be happy about this choice, but it’s a personal one and will remain that way. The decision to be a parent is the most important decision an adult will ever make—or at least it should be.

I’ve shared the thoughts above not to judge others, but as part of my personal process to choose my family’s size. For personal and cultural reasons these beliefs are not shared by everyone, which is unfortunate, because our world would be a better place for our children if parents-to-be would consider what the future will look like for our next generation of global citizens.

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Apprentice Editor: Lauren Savory / Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: Nikki Hoffman / Flickr

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